Meet the DriveTriber - Shafiq Abidin

3 in a row!

45w ago

Here we are again, Meet The DriveTriber is already back, 3 days, 3 interviews. I feel productive and motivated these days! Thanks to everyone who submitted in these past days, I'm speeding up to keep the pace! If you have no idea of what I'm talking about, down here the usual reminder.

Today I'm going to ask some questions to Shafiq Abidin, surely you've already came across him here on Drivetribe, among his posts you can find cool car spots, quiz, polls, and interesting video. If you don't yet, follow him!

Now, let's start with the questions...

Shafiq training with his new dog

Shafiq training with his new dog

Where are you from?

My name is Shafiq Abidin, and I'm a 24-year old who's born and raised in East London. My parents are from the sunny shores of Nagapattinam, in India.

What do you do?

Currently, I'm in my third year of journalism studies at City, University of London. In tandem with my studies, I spend a lot of time content creating on DriveTribe, in a bid to become a more complete automotive journalist - the field of work where I see my future being.

At University

At University

How did you join Drivetribe?

At the start of 2020, I realised I had to start deciding which area of journalism I wanted to go in to. At first, it was humanitarian, and then it was sports (mainly football). However, both of these sectors just weren't appealing enough to me. But then, all of a sudden, I had a brainwave - what about motoring journalism? Since the earliest stages of my life, I've been an avid viewer of Top Gear, and I guess it never struck me that Jeremy, James and Richard are journalists too. Probably because it's easy to think they're actually professional comedians. I did some research and found DriveTribe, which made me question why I didn't have that lightbulb moment earlier on!

So, in February of 2020, I began writing articles, and slowly learning the craft. After about six months of writing, I (rather nervously) applied for the creator's program, with absolutely no expectations of being accepted. After a few more weeks of tense waiting, I got a reply from John saying congratulations - and I immediately proceeded to open a bottle of Irish whiskey in celebration. I genuinely don't think I even finished reading the DM LOL. It's been about a month since that momentous occasion, and I couldn't be happier with my decision to join DriveTribe, and help create content alongside some of the very best (aspirant) automotive writers around the world.

What's your daily drive?

Currently, I'm driving a 2008 Ford Fiesta Zetec S - it's my first car. It's not particularly quick (despite my enthusiastic approach to acceleration), and nor is it pretty. Someone also decided to steal my left fog light, which is worth £5. What's worse is that they've actually done a pretty good job of the robbery, which really pains me because that level of professionalism towards theft literally could've got them something worth a lot more than a fiver. Then, whenever I remember that they've only taken one, I get even more angry - at least take BOTH if you're going to steal them!

However, I have to say that it's been a wonderful companion to me for these past nine months. It's got me from point A to point B, and I've never not smiled when I've given it a (small) thrashing along some backroads on a Sunday morning. I'm not one of those annoying boy-racers, I only do it on empty roads when they're quiet - I mean, which petrol head wouldn't? Even if it's in a banged up, 12-year-old Fiesta. 😄

By May of next year, providing I graduate, I'm going to switch over to an E92 M3 (2012), and I cannot wait! Anyone fancy joining me for a few laps around the Nürburgring?

Cool! Any volunteer?

Let's talk about cars...

What's your favorite classic car?

I've always been torn when someone's asked me this question, there's just too many options out there. An E-Type? A Daytona? A DB5? For a long time, I'd always thought that the Ferrari 250 GTO is the king of all classic cars. But several weeks ago, when I was reading up about the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale for an article I was writing, my mind completely changed. I don't see any car ever being as desirable or as immensely beautiful as the Stradale - it's pure mechanical pornography.

What's your favorite modern car?

Again, how do you choose? One day, you want the most opulent cruiser money can buy, like a Phantom. The next day, you fancy a battle-ready super saloon like a C63 Bi-Turbo. On a Sunday morning, you might want to pound a V10 screamer like the Lexus LFA around Silverstone. If I had to choose my dream current car at this moment in time, I think I'd settle on a Porsche 918 Spyder. It does everything a city boy like myself would want/need it to do, whilst offering an endless source of happiness. My mind will probably change tomorrow, though.

What do you think of electric cars?

I think we'll look back on the era of the combustion engine and be filled with great sadness. Perhaps as though we took it for granted, but that's what comes with limited resources, I guess. You cannot question the impressive work done by manufacturers to enable us to cross-over to hybrid/electric motors, though. I think they're giving us plenty of reasons to look forward to the future of the motoring industry. Despite this, I don't think Tesla, for all their advancements and prowess, can ever build a car that will rival the raw, unfiltered ludicrousness given to us by a petrol-powered rocket like a Koenigsegg Agera R. The noise, the vibrations, and the intense aggression produced by the combustion engine is something we'll look back on as the definitive era of the Automobile.

Automatic or manual?

Manual, every single day of the week. You just feel so much more involved with the process, which enables you to fully experience the joys and pleasures that come with driving.

What are your hobbies?

I love to play and watch football, something that's been a big part of my life pretty much since I was a fetus. My other hobbies include going out and socializing with my mates and family via drinking and dancing, which almost certainly leads to some inexcusable behaviour on my part. I also love to travel; I've been to thirteen different cities in the last three years. Immersing yourself in cultures and seeing as much of the world as you can is as important as anything else in life. Afterall, you only live once, right?

What's your dream road trip?

London to Monaco! Setting off in my hometown of East Ham, I'll travel East towards Dover. T,hen I'll cross over to Calais, and make my way towards the Nürburgring. After a full day of woefully bad (albeit slightly fast) driving, I'll make my way back to France and freefall South, before reaching Nice and Monaco. I think this journey would contain everything. I mean, the Autobahn and the Nürburgring would quench my thirst for speed, and the South of France will allow me to see some incredible scenery, before ending up in Monaco, where I can party like an actual famous person! Who knows, maybe I'd run into a couple of celebrities and Formula one drivers? This actual trip is what I'm planning to do for my summer holiday next year, once I've purchased that M3 that I so desperately crave.

Tell us something funny that's happened to you in a car ...

A few years back, I was travelling to the Lake District with two of my cousins. Whilst on the motorway, I badly needed to urinate - but there wasn't a service station within miles of us. Things got desperate for me, so I got in the back and attempted to shamelessly go in a bottle. Unfortunately, a mix of travelling at 70mph whilst trying to aim into a bottle did not do me any good whatsoever, so naturally, I got stage fright and, no pun intended, bottled it. We ended up stopping at the next stretch of hard shoulder we could find, and with a multitude of taunts from passing lorry drivers, I went by the side of the motorway. To date, that was the most memorable wee I've ever done, and that ''ahhh'' feeling will probably never be topped.

Tell us a song that you particularly enjoy to listen while driving ...

Optimistic by Radiohead. I first heard it in the Ayrton Senna film done by Jeremy, and it just fills you with driving motivation of epic proportions. Whenever my Spotify plays it, I feel like Ayrton Senna in his McLaren MP4/4, dancing through the streets of Monaco - only I'm in a 12-year-old Fiesta .. and I'm in a traffic jam somewhere in London. Oh well.

Are you a Motorsport fan?

I wouldn't say I'm a hardcore Motorsport fan, but I do enjoy watching Formula one and the occasional endurance race. I think racing isn't as exciting as it was in the old days, and would much rather have watched Formula one in the days of Hunt vs Lauda, or Senna vs Prost. I get most of my Motorsport fix from sim racing instead - I love the Granturismo series!

Who's your favorite racing driver?

Jim Clark - a decision which was definitely swayed (from Senna) thanks to Hammond's tribute to him on the Grand Tour. In terms of sheer speed, will to win and lust for racing, I don't think anyone can come close to Jim Clark in the calendar year of 1965. He was quite literally a driving god.

What's your favorite tribe?

There are so many out amazing tribes on DriveTribe, but I think ''Shitty Car Mods'' probably gives me the biggest grin. I cannot contain my laughter whenever I see that Liam ''Nissan'' picture. Just thinking about it makes me chuckle! I'm planning on creating a proper Granturismo tribe soon, in anticipation of the release of the PS5 and, more importantly, Granturismo 7. I think that will end up being my favourite tribe. Not because I'd be leader, but because it's something I've been passionate about since I was a toddler, and I don't think the current crop of Granturismo tribes are .. successful, to put it nicely. 😄

Good luck!

Are you a Clarkson Hammond and May fan?

Clarkson. I think he's the greatest automotive journalist out there. He can review a car better than anyone else with a smug, comedic reporting style that many have tried to copy, but hopelessly failed at doing. Even I admit I'm guilty of trying to approach my work with a hint of Clarkson about it - he is my idol, after all. One fact remains - you can't beat an original.

What's your favorite Grand Tour /Top Gear moment?

My favourite episode was the Uganda special. I went there myself after watching it, and I think of all the cheap car challenges they did, that one was the most worthwhile and enjoyable to watch.

Shafiq in Uganda volunteering for a charity called street child.

Shafiq in Uganda volunteering for a charity called street child.

My favourite individual scene? Probably the moment Jeremy announced they'd draw the curtains on the studio set-up that they've been doing together for so many years. You may think this is a weird choice, but for me, this one scene brought back a good 20 years of memories, and made me realise that I fell in love with cars because of them. I'm forever grateful to the trio for this.

Can you believe I did not dare to watch that part a second time? Sooo..

What do you think of Drivetribe?

DriveTribe is incredible. It gives anyone and everyone a platform to write and discuss views on all matters regarding cars, whilst banding together a plethora of different car communities and cultures around the world. The people are amazing, the tribes are quirky, the promoted articles help me learn so much and the site in general is cool AF. When I didn't know what I wanted to do with my career, DriveTribe showed me the light. When I had no real experience in the field of automotive journalism, DriveTribe gave me a chance with the creator's program. I for one cannot wait to see what the future holds for DriveTribe and its incredible writers - I'm adamant it'll be bright.

Thanks to Shafiq for joining Meet the DriveTriber!

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